SMMT announces new Presidential line up at 96th Annual Dinner

28 November 2012 #SMMT News

SMMT announces new Presidential line up at 96th Annual Dinner Executives from across the UK’s automotive sector last night gathered at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) 96th Annual Dinner, which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

In his final speech as SMMT President, Nigel Stein, Chief Executive of GKN, highlighted a successful year from UK automotive, set against a difficult economic environment in large parts of the rest of Europe. He also announced SMMT’s new President, Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW Group UK, who will take over the role in January 2013.

In his speech, Nigel highlighted key achievements for an industry which has seen over £6bn committed investment in the last two years. This has helped to maintain the UK’s position as a leader in the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles during challenging economic conditions. “I am proud of the progress we have seen in the last two years while I’ve been SMMT President and I am pleased to say that the Society is in a strong position. SMMT is recognised as one of the most influential trade associations in the UK.” said Nigel “While 2013 continues to look challenging, especially for those of us with European markets, our job is to build on the excellent work that has put us in the best position for decades and to take the sector to the next level.”

Speaking about his appointment, Tim said, “I am honoured to succeed Nigel as President. Under his leadership the SMMT has done an excellent job in promoting the industry, especially the supply chain, ensuring it receives the recognition it deserves as an important contributor to the UK economy.”

Assisting Tim Abbott will be two additional Vice Presidents, who were also announced last night. They will be Mark Ovenden, Managing Director, Ford of Britain and Gareth Jones, Managing Director of ebm-papst Automotive & Drives UK Ltd



  • SMMT Vice Presidents are selected from the Executive Board by the President to support him in overseeing the strategic direction of the Society’s work.
  • Tim Abbott was appointed BMW Group UK Managing Director in 2009, having been Sales Director since 2006. Tim first joined BMW in 1986 and held several positions in the regional and then national sales teams. In 1996 his career took him into the retail sector with Audi, establishing a successful group of five dealerships in the south-east of England which he sold in 2004 to United Auto Group (UAG). Following two years as a Divisional Managing Director for Sytner Group, he rejoined BMW (UK) as Sales Director.
  • Mark Ovenden was appointed Managing Director, Ford of Britain in August 2011 after three years as Managing Director and President of Ford Russia. Before that, previous roles have included Director of Marketing, Ford of Britain, from March 2006, and Ford of Europe Brand Manager, based at the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex. A graduate of Nottingham University, Mark has had a wide range of global marketing and sales experience within Ford Motor Company, including positions based at Dearborn and Cologne.
  • Gareth Jones is Managing Director of ebm-papst Automotive & Drives UK Ltd, the UK subsidiary of a German owned global manufacturing company. With over 23 years’ experience within the ebm-papst group, Gareth has operated in the manufacturing supply chains of many global industries including automotive, telecommunications, rail, consumer electronics, white goods and retail. He is an engineer with experience across many business environments: manufacturing, marketing, management, sales and distribution.
  • Mark and Gareth join existing SMMT Vice Presidents John Neill CBE of Unipart Group, Bill Parfitt CBE of General Motors UK, Robin Woolcock of VW Group and Ralf Speth of Jaguar Land Rover.

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